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Police licensing program is ‘a powerful step in the right direction’

But some advocates want more diversity in police training commission

Social advocates are applauding lawmakers for advancing a bill that would require police officers in New Jersey to be licensed. Under the measure, police officers would face decertification for various instances of misconduct, including being convicted of a crime in the U.S., having two or more DWI offenses, and unprofessional conduct causing public harm.

“It’s long overdue and it aids in our struggle of gaining police accountability,” said Dr. Jason Williams, who is an associate professor of justice studies at Montclair State University.

Patrick Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, said he too approves the licensing program and believes it has a fair balance. But some social advocates say they would like more community members to be included in the evaluation process. The bill awaits a signature from Gov. Phil Murphy.

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